A trip north to the Bay Area did not cure the USC women’s soccer team’s woes, as the team’s record continues to head south.
The Women of Troy dropped their seventh and eight consecutive games, falling 3-0 to No. 1 Stanford on Friday and 2-0 to California on Sunday. USC is now 3-12 on the year and still searching for its first Pac-12 victory.
“We just haven’t played as well as we should be playing,” USC coach Ali Khosroshahin said. “We’re getting chances and not doing what we should be doing with them.”
The Golden Bears entered Sunday’s match on a four-game winless streak but looked impressive in USC’s second consecutive shutout loss.
“They took advantage of the shots they had, and we didn’t,” Khosroshahin said. “It’s really as simple as that.”
USC played Cal to a scoreless tie at halftime but was victimized by a pair of Golden Bear corner kicks in the second half. Cal forward Rachel Mercik broke the stalemate on a header in the 48th minute. Midfielder Taylor Comeau followed 10 minutes later with her first goal of the season from 25 yards out.
“We let them do what you can’t do, and that’s score of those corner kicks,” Khosroshahin said. “And then when you don’t respond with chances of your own it’s not going to turn out well.”
USC had its best chances in the 23rd minute, when back-to-back corner kicks resulted in shots on goal. Senior Brittany Kerridge’s boot to fellow senior Ashli Sandoval necessitated a save from sophomore goalkeeper Emily Kruger. Senior Claire Schloemer’s chance just seconds later sailed wide.
“[Brittany] Kerridge is playing very well, really giving us a chance on a lot of possessions,” Khosroshahin said. “It’s just too bad we aren’t playing like that all around.”
USC’s failure to score, a season-long issue, especially rankled Khosroshahin.
“This game is all about putting the ball in the back of the net,” Khosroshahin said. “You can talk about giving up goals, but that’s what it comes down to. We didn’t do that [against Cal].”
The undefeated Cardinal presented a rigorous test for USC, which had struggled scoring goals entering the weekend and failed to find the back of the net in both games.
Despite a career-high eight saves for sophomore goalkeeper Shelby Church and close shots from sophomore Elizabeth Eddy and senior Ashley Freyer, Stanford jumped out to a two-goal first-half lead and never looked back.
“They’re probably the best team we’ve played all year,” Khosroshahin said. “They played us as tough as we’ve ever been played.”
USC hung with the Cardinal until the 32nd minute, when forward Sydney Payne scored on a deflected header to give Stanford the lead. Minutes later, defender Rachel Quon booted the ball off the underside of the top post and in to extend the lead to 2-0.
Stanford added a third goal with just 30 seconds remaining to close out the scoring. The Cardinal’s shutout of the Women of Troy was just the latest in a streak of dominating efforts from Stanford’s defense. The victory over USC gave the Cardinal a streak of seven straight shutouts, a run that came to an end Sunday in a 4-1 win over UCLA.
“We knew they’d be great going in,” Khosroshahin said. “No surprise there.”
The Women of Troy will finish up their three-game road trip Friday against Washington before returning to McAlister Field for their last home stand of the season.